Initiated with Tindall Foundation funds in 1997 Zero Waste has grown from a little known idealist principle to a largely acceptable prospect in New Zealand, says CEO Jo Knight.
While the focus of its endeavour has mainly been on encouraging local councils to implement zero waste strategies through re-cycling, Ms Knight says there is a long way to go in convincing manufacturers and designers to take the principles on board.
"We would like to see more newspapers produced on recycled paper and to see designers and manufacturers more committed to producing packaging that contains recyclable material, and specifically paper and cardboard rather than polystyrene and plastic.
"This is happening, but it is slow. There is still a lot of plastic needlessly ending up in landfills when some of it could be ending up recycled," she says.
In the 10 years it has been operating, the trust has seen more than 70 per cent of the Councils in New Zealand commit themselves to aim for Zero Waste, with some doing exceptionally well, she says.
"Opotiki District Council is diverting 90 per cent of its waste from landfill, for instance, and MacKenzie, Ashburton, Kaikoura councils all have made significant contributions in this field."
The Zero Waste New Zealand trust initiated and partially funded the development of an educational framework to support the growing waste industry through the Zero Waste Academy and was an early promoter of alternatives to plastic bags in association with the Green Bag Foundation.
The Trust has been invited to speak on New Zealand's waste initiatives in Malaysia, Ireland and Argentina in the last couple of years.
She says the trust supports the Waste Minimisation Bill currently on its way through Parliament.